Jul 22, 2019 | Updated: 08:33 AM EDT

Rabies Can Be Transmitted Through a Simple Scratch

Jun 15, 2019 11:54 AM EDT

(Photo : pexels)

Experts say that a simple scratch is enough for rabies to be transmitted, although it is not always the cause of rabies, it can still happen. The consequence of rabies to someone who infected often leads to death. The symptoms are terrifying. An end to an infected person's existence could be inevitable.

Rabies may affect the spinal cord and the brain of all mammals like cats, dogs, and even humans. The infection spreads primarily through its passage from an infected animal. Dr. Maricelle Licuanan Resureccion founder of the Philippine Pet Birth Control Center said all the virus needs is a point of entry, like a simple scratch, a broken skin or a wound. She also added that not all infected animals show aggression so there is no way to know whether or not an animal is infected with rabies.

Resureccion said that although it is unlikely to contract rabies from a mere scratch, it can still happen.

"While you get infected with rabies when bitten by an infected dog or cat, it can be just as fatal when a rabid dog or cat with saliva-infested nails, say one that has been licking its paws, scratches a human." She said.

She advised people who are infected with rabies to go to a hospital or an animal bite center immediately for vaccination.

"Do not pet dogs or cats that you do not know, even if they are friendly. You must ask the owner's permission first. For stray dogs and cats, if you see one and you feel sorry for them, call animal rescue. Only professionals, or someone vaccinated, should handle stray dogs and cats." She said.

Jackson White Law shared that rabies infection has the possibility to spread within 24 to 48 hours and it can completely take over the patient's body. Around 99% of cases of rabies are caused by domestic dogs, as they are the most responsible in the transmission of the rabies virus to humans. Rabies can affect both wild animals and domestic animals. It is spread to people through scratches and bites, usually through saliva.

Rabies is present on all continents, except Antarctica, with over 95% of human deaths occurring in the Asia and Africa regions. Every year, around 15 million people all over the world receive a post-bite vaccination. This is estimated to prevent thousands of rabies deaths.

The incubation period for patients is typically 2 to 3 months but it may depend from 1 week to 1 year. It also depends on factors such as the location of the virus entry and the viral load. The initial symptoms of rabies include a fever with pain and an unusual tingling, pricking or burning sensation at the wound site. As the rabies virus spreads to the central nervous system, a progressive and fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord develops.

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